What is executive function?

Each year, the Br. Thomas Leto Options Program — the only all-boys Catholic high school in the U.S. that offers an inclusive program for students with diverse learning needs — hosts Options Week at Bishop Hendricken to promote awareness of learning differences.

This past week, the Options Program posed the question: what is executive function? Do you find yourself saying this about your student?

“He is great if he is doing his own thing, but the minute I ask him to do something, he doesn’t do it!”

“It doesn’t seem he ever has his materials for class!”

“I have to tell him to do the same thing ten times!”

“He does great on his homework, but fails the test — I don’t get it!”

Executive function represents our capacity to self-regulate, including everything from focus and impulse control to long-term planning, prioritizing, organizing our lives, and controlling emotion. These skills are controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that effects a student’s executive function. To get a glimpse into what it looks like, watch this video.

Today, 9.8% of all 5-17 year old youth are diagnosed with ADHD at some point, and 13% of those are boys, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So, what can we do to aid students who have ADHD or other challenges that impact their executive function? Our extensive and comprehensive Academic Support Services here at Bishop Hendricken are here to help! This includes our Academic Support Center which specifically equips students with executive function skills; our Options Program which is designed specifically for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and more.

To learn more about all of our Academic Support Services, click here. All of the Academic Support Services opportunities are open to all students at no additional cost. After all, we’re here for — and to challenge — every learner.